Announcing the Swat Web Application Toolkit

Swat Web Application Toolkit

Over at in the silverorange Labs today, we announced our first open-source project. Swat is a web application toolkit build on PHP5. It’s not totally x-treme or all web-twenny. Rather, it’s a solid (or at least “solidifying”) toolkit containing many of the widgets we use to build web applications.

We’ve had a few generations of our own in-house web toolkit, first in Cold Fusion, then PHP. This time around we’ve used an open-source license for the code, and at least as important, an overall approach to the development that is based on those generally found in the world of open-source software.

I’ll try to answer a couple of questions I expect we’ll get:

Does it use Ajax?
Sort of, kind of, not really. We have a package that runs along side of Swat for any XMLHttpRequest stuff we might need. None of the current Swat widgets use it by default, but it will be easy to extend in that direction. We’re going to be careful to only use these technologies where appropriate and in a way that degrades gracefully.
Why didn’t you just use Ruby on Rails?
We looked at every web application framework we could find. Some, like Ruby on Rails, were quite good (there’s a lot of crap too). However, we have enough of an application base that we can justify the support of our own toolkit. This also let’s us build on the concepts we’ve established in the previous iterations of our formerly proprietary toolkits.

Back in our days programming in ColdFusion, we ran into the perils of working with a platform that makes the easy things really easy and the hard things really hard. We’re doing our best to make something that will be as useful in a powerful and complex (if need be) application as it would building a simply weblog engine.

The toolkit is only a few months old, but we’re already reaping the benefits in our development process at silverorange. There’s more info in the announcement and you can find all the other goodness (Subversion repository, mailing lists, documentation, jabber chat, etc) from the Swat website.


5 thoughts on “Announcing the Swat Web Application Toolkit

  1. Tomas: I don’t think he implied that at all, I am pretty sure he was talking about ColdFusion in that respect.

    It looks like their conclusion on Rails was more of a “it’s just not for us – we are set in some of our ways” than anything else.

  2. Jacob: We went with PHP because it’s the language we know and it works well for us. Also, PHP5 introduced a lot of improvements for object oriented work that were well suited to what we wanted to do with Swat.

    Tomas: Jevon was right, didn’t mean to imply anything about Rails – we don’t have enough experience with it to make a determination like that. We had enough of our own thing going on that a new toolkit on PHP made more sense for us.

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